Sunday, 25 July 2021

School made me the musician I am

School made me the musician I am

Sir, — I have been reading about the trouble that Chiltern Edge School in Sonning Common is in and hope that my story can help change people’s opinions.

I am now 20 years old but Chiltern Edge was the biggest help and support at the start of my musical career.

Recently I left my job at Hickies Music Store in Reading to pursue my dream of becoming a self-sufficient musician.

Music has been a passion of mine since the age of 10 when my parents got me my first guitar.

I practised for about eight hours every day during my years at Chiltern Edge, learning all my favourite songs and techniques in order to make it as a professional musician.

I was performing on stages in London from the age of 14 with band members twice my age just to try to get my name out there as well as performing at every school concert and event in my local area.

I moved through all musical styles to help expand my knowledge of the guitar and music.

The teachers at Chiltern Edge all supported me through my musical development. They encouraged the thought of someone as young as me having my head set on what I wanted to do in life and helped me make a plan on how to get there.

After school I went to Reading College to learn how to record music and get into the production side.

Here I learnt how to set up my own studio but unfortunately did not have the funds at the time to do so.

After I finished college I managed to get a job at Hickies as a Sunday temp for a couple of hours a week.

I always believed in working harder than you get paid for so I quickly learnt the trade of running a music store from my managers, James and William, and helped as much as I could to better the company.

After a couple of months the management saw my hard work and the effort I was putting in and offered me an apprenticeship in music retail.

I completed the apprenticeship in two years and learned how to run a music shop, buy stock, manage staff and how to better and expand the company you work for.

I worked my way up the employment ladder, going from a Sunday temp to managing the guitar end of the shop. All my wages I put into funding and setting up my own home studio to allow me to record myself and other musicians in Reading.

After three years of working at Hickies, I decided the time had come to leave and put all my energy and effort into making it as a musician.

As most musicians know, there is not as much money to be made in the industry as there used to be, so I had to come up with ways to support myself as a self-employed musician.

I started my own teaching business in Reading, teaching guitar and ukulele to people of all ages, from beginners to intermediate musicians.

I also started doing session work for other musicians on their albums and singles.

My proudest moment so far is putting my first single, Crossroads, out on iTunes, Spotify and all digital stores. All the instruments on my single were played by myself.

I love to talk to my audience on Instagram daily, helping to inspire other musicians to shoot for their dreams and prove that when you put all your effort into something you love and care about you can achieve anything.

I am now working on my first album which I would like to come out by the end of September. — Yours faithfully,

Duncan Andrews


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